Tuesday I shared some of the reasons family time is important and why I care so much about living life together. Fortunately, church is one time where the family can be together. Right?
Hmm, let’s think about what happens during the course of a week at a typical church:
- Sunday School – Separated by age in different classrooms.
- Worship Service – Separated by age with children’s church, nursery, and sometimes even a teen service.
- Wednesday Nights – Separated by age with youth group, children’s group, nursery and adult classes.
- Small Groups – Starting to see even these separated by age for mid-high, senior high, couples, senior adults etc.
Not once in this church week is there a dedicated time for the entire family to be together.
I don’t expect society to care about bringing the family together and creating an atmosphere that cultures those relationships. However, I would love for the church to have many of its functions and opportunities work for all ages to do together. Hey, I’d be happy with one or two church activities that were for the entire family. What a way to support a family- encourage them to pray together, serve together, and worship together.
Segregating everything by age is a huge disservice to the body of Christ. After all, families are integrated and the church is a family. We all belong to the same body and have things to glean by doing life together. This mean infants, toddlers, teens and adults. People in every stage of life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand from the church’s perspective that they are a between a rock and hard place wanting to appeal to everyone (especially those new to the church) and even feel a bit of competition with other churches.
There aren’t any perfect solutions but maybe there should be compromise. Have Sunday School and Wednesday nights separated by age (or you could even start with everyone together and then separate) but keep small groups for families. Maybe Children’s Church and nursery could be available for those who want to use it but the church could be equally supportive and upfront as to how they love to see children worshiping with their parents. Each family could then decide what is right for them. A parent won’t feel like an outsider for keeping their family together or for using the nursery.
I found three articles to be very encouraging and reaffirm what I’m thinking. They let me know l was not alone in this endeavor.
- Thriving Family wrote on Welcoming Kids Into Worship
- Jessica from Our Family for His Glory wrote a letter To You Mamas With Little Ones in Church
- The Gospel Coalition’s post was Don’t Segregate the Youth
How do you think that church can best be supportive of families?
(Tuesday I’ll discuss why I keep my children in church with me and give some suggestions for helping them sit through the service.)